Howlin calls on Coveney to raise latest Gaza tragedy at European Council

Issued 7 April 2018

Labour Party Leader and spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Brendan Howlin TD, has called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, to raise the latest Israeli actions at the Gaza border at EU level.

Deputy Howlin said:

"We have seen a concerted response in recent weeks from the European Council in relation to Russia.

“It should do so now in relation to the latest atrocities in Gaza and Simon Coveney should initiate that process.

“We need to put an end to this cycle of violence.

“It is difficult for those of us who have long advocated, and remained faithful to, a two state solution to see the authorities in Israel react again with such disproportionate violence to the protests on the Gaza border yesterday.

“Israel likes to pride itself on its democratic tradition, and contrast itself favourably with other regimes in the region.

“Democracy however is not just about majority rule. Democratic countries have a responsibility to uphold the rule of law, even in situations of extreme provocation, as Israel claims.

“It is simply unacceptable that at least 24 people have been killed in these protests and as has been pointed out by the UN, the recourse to live fire by the IDF amounts to a breach of the Geneva Conventions.

“No democratic country, no truly democratic government, should see that appalling death toll as anything other than the utter and reprehensible failure it is.

“Israel must fundamentally reassess its approach to these protests and show the maturity to resist provocation if it is, indeed, offered.

“Democracies should be robust enough to withstand criticism and protest.

“If one responds by abandoning democratic principles so easily, then one wonders how strong the commitment to those values actually is.”